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As ‘pothole season’ reaches peak, city announces aggressive repaving campaign

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Extra crews will be out to patch Chicago’s streets ahead of a major resurfacing effort starting this spring


As Chicago enters the busiest stretch of its annual pothole season, the city is devoting additional resources to patch the irksome road hazards following January’s Polar Vortex where temps dropped to a record 23 degrees below with a wind chill of minus 52, according to the National Weather Service.

The appearance of potholes tends to correlate with the weather and large temperature swings, as moisture from rain or snow seeps into cracks and through the street surface and freezes and thaws. The process creates gaps that can cave-in when vehicles pass above.

To combat the issue, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced an “aggressive” 2019 paving season with plans to resurface 315 miles of roadway—up from 310 miles in 2018. “We’ve made great progress repairing the condition of our roadways over the last eight years, repaving more than 2,160 miles of streets all across Chicago,” said Emanuel in a statement. “But we know this harsh winter season has taken a toll.”

Crews are set to begin full street repaving once the weather allows asphalt plants to re-open, historically in April. Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials are working closely with other infrastructure departments and utility companies to avoid prematurely repaving streets that are scheduled to be torn up for unrelated work such as water main repairs.

In the meantime, the city assigned an additional 26 workers to seven new pothole-patching crews. The reshuffling brings the total number of crews to at least 35 on a typical workday. Teams will toil seven days a week to fill-in the pesky craters.

To report a pothole to the city, call 311 or your local alderman or log onto the 311 website or mobile app. For information on filing a claim regarding pothole-related damage to your personal vehicle, visit the City Clerk’s website. You can also keep tabs on recent street repairs via the City of Chicago’s online pothole tracker.